Texas recognizes the importance of fostering a relationship between children and their parents, regardless of the parent's sex, and expressly forbids the courts from favoring either mothers or fathers in custody disputes. While the courts cannot consider a person's gender when making custody determinations, Texas law grants certain privileges to unmarried mothers with regard to custody of their children. If you need help understanding mother's rights in custody matters, it is wise to meet with an attorney. At McClure Law Group, our seasoned Dallas child-custody attorneys can advise you of your rights and help you take the measures necessary to protect your interests via paternity and custody proceedings.Single Mother's Rights
Under the Texas Family Code (the "Code"), unmarried mothers have sole custody of their children unless paternity is established. In other words, unmarried men do not have any parental rights to the children they claim as their own unless they have a legal acknowledgment or decree of their paternity. This is true regardless of whether the purported father's name is listed on the birth certificate. As such, absent a court order dictating otherwise, unmarried mothers have sole conservatorship and possession of their children, which means they can determine where the child lives, relocate with the child, and decide important matters such as what education and health care the child will receive, whether the child will observe a religion, and what parties have the right to spend time with the child. Notably, however, if a child's paternity remains undefined, the mother does not have the right to child support.Mother's Rights in Custody Actions
If a child's paternity has been established, mothers are not afforded greater rights than fathers. In other words, the Code expressly states that courts must evaluate whether a parent should be granted conservatorship, possession, or access to a child without regard to either the sex of the parent or the child. As such, mothers will not be awarded greater parental rights solely due to their gender. Likewise, they cannot be penalized because of their gender, either. Instead, the courts will make custody determinations based on what is in the child's best interest.
The courts will consider numerous factors in evaluating what custody arrangement is best for a child, including the mental and physical health of the child and both parents, each parent's resources and ability to care for the child, and whether the child has any special health or educational needs. The courts will also examine whether the parents can foster and develop a relationship between the child and the co-parent, which parent historically cared for the child, the proximity of the parents' residences, and any other factor the courts deem relevant. Generally, the courts presume that it is in the child's best interest to have frequent interaction with each parent.
All parents have the right to seek child support, and the court does not consider gender when weighing support requests. Instead, the courts acknowledge that both mothers and fathers have an obligation to support their children, which includes financial support. The courts can compel a parent to pay child support, regardless of whether a parent is appointed as managing or possessory conservator of the child. Typically, support obligations are calculated based on statutory guidelines, but deviations from the guidelines may be warranted in some instances.Meet With a Skillful Dallas Lawyer
Mothers have the right to custody of their children in many instances, but, if the paternity of their children has been established, their rights do not necessarily surpass those of the fathers. If you would like to discuss mother's rights in a custody matter, it is in your best interest to meet with an attorney. The skillful Dallas lawyers of McClure Law Group are mindful of the importance of protecting parental rights, and, if we represent you, we will advocate zealously on your behalf. Our primary office is in Dallas, and we often meet clients for appointments at our Collin-County office in Plano. We represent people in custody matters in Dallas, Rockwall, Fort Worth, Frisco, Irving, McKinney, Richardson, and Garland. We also help parties with family-law issues in cities in Dallas, Rockwall, Collin, Denton, Tarrant, and Grayson Counties. You can reach us by calling 214.692.8200 or through our online form to schedule a confidential meeting.